We went for a week-long winter holiday to South Korea last December. Ive been meaning to blog about this but…. yeah.. im lazy. And super busy. With work. What else?!
It was pretty much a last minute decision to go South Korea. Hubb and I were contemplating a couple of other places like Turkey and Hanoi. But at that point, I was crazy over Running Man, watching several episodes a day. I saw the kinda snowfall they get every end of the year. And was thinking, hey… this is my chance to finally see actual snow!
So i did a little research (bloghopped…a coupla hours a day) and booked 2 tix outtahere. It was the first time I booked airfares from http://www.cheapflights.com.sg It was easy, they list down all the flights available from the cheapest to the most expensive, timings, layovers etc etc. I found a relatively cheap (considering we made that booking in Oct. late aldy liao) direct flight out on Asiana Airlines. Once the booking was confirmed and paid, hubb and I slowly bought our winter wear. Most of them from qoo10. Didnt buy much. Some thermal leggings, winter coats and winter boots. We went to Daiso and bought winter socks, gloves and heatpacks. We went to Mustaffa ctr to buy instant rice, curry sambal, noodles. hehe.
Our flight was an overnight flight. After leaving some last minute instructions to our pet sitter, we left for the airport. I wore jeans, a thick long sleeved blouse and my thickest shawl for tudung. Hubb was in jeans too and a normal cotton shirt. Both of us were already in socks and winter boots.
I think Asiana Airlines is quite ok. We had a seats right by the emergency exits. Flight was smooth. Because it was an overnight flight, we fell asleep and woke up like an hour or so before arrival. We had forgotten to order from the Muslim menu so we opted to eat their vegetarian bimbimbap. 6plus hours later, we arrived in Incheon Airport. While clearing immigrations, there were so many tourists from PRC who also just arrived. As they jostled around to get their passports stamped, they were already suiting up in winter gear. Hubb and I were still nonchalant. The building was heated, i even perspired a little being in queue with so many people for quite a while. So i thought, maybe the winter hasnt come full force yet. (Note: This is our first time to a country that has winter) We hadnt quite grasped the meaning of winter cold yet. Maybe colder than aircon cold kind la. Or so we thought.
As we figured out how to buy the train tickets to Seoul, hubb wanted to light his first cigarette of the day. We arrived at 6am. So we walked towards the double doors. Confidently. The minute we both stepped outside, I immediately head back in. There was no freaking way I can survive the C.O.L.D outside. No way. So we opened up our luggage and hauled out our winter coats and gloves. Even with those on, we were cold to the bone. Those Daiso gloves? FREAKING USELESS!
Anyway, we managed to do our Subuh prayers in one corner of the airport, bought the KTX tickets to Seoul. Upon reaching Seoul station, we had coffee and doughnuts for brekkie. Bought tickets to ride their metro to Gangbyon. And then we bought bus tickets to Pyeongchang. And took a cab to our winter resort. Elf Pension. Awesome awesome resort. We managed all that eventhough we couldnt speak Korean and it was our first time ever in South Korea. VERY FUN! hahahahahha 12hrs of travel time in total. We wanted to stay 2 nights in Pyeongchang because they have their heaviest snowfall there. And throughout those 6hrs of ktx-train-bus-cab.. were pretty much FREEZING.
We were SO SO SO tired that we just stayed in our room the entire time. And then, the light snowflakes that had started to fall got heavier and heavier and soon, the wooden bench outside our door was completely covered with pure white snow. So we got suited up again and decided to walk in the snow a bit and buy some things to eat from the tiny convenience store.
This shot was taken with flash. And those white stuff on the tree? REAL SNOW yo! Not the glittered cotton wool on fake pine trees u see at Orchard Rd every Christmas ok. By the time we got back to our room, we were literally walking in knee deep snow. Man, I really miss this. This freezing weather, MAGGIE KARI JUGAK BOLEH AJAR. hahahahhaha! REALLY!!!
The next morning, a really awesome white winter view greeted us. It was so beautiful masya allah….
While waiting for the car to fetch us to the ski resort, we got snap happy lah!
Part of the reason we chose this resort was because all the ski resorts were fully booked. 😦 But we can still get to them for snowskiing or boarding. Just inform the front desk and they will arrange for you. We were there for a whole freaking freezing day! Hubb was the most excited of them all!
Rented our stuff from here:
Make our way to here:
And enjoyed ourselves silly!
I really miss the snow. Eventhough we almost froze our limbs off (hot chocolate, hot coacoa, hot soup, hot anything tasted so much nicer in the harsh cold) we really loved it. The whole winter experience.
Even with the numerous falls. haha
That night, we slept soundly through the snowstorm that hailed on Pyeongchang. We had to delay our checkout by several hours because the roads werent cleared. When we finally could, it was with heavy hearts that we had to leave this gorgeous place back to Seoul.
Ah, although Pyeongchang has the most snowfall, Seoul has the most extreme temperature. We arrived in Itaewon about 5pm. And the cold was really biting. Bitter cold. I dont know how the Koreans could survive this every year. We booked a small cosy hotel (with no bloody lifts) and everyone had to smoke OUTSIDE.
GV Residence, Itaewon
So my poor husband had to suit up everytime he needs to light up. Make that, every 15mins. LOL. Suit up, walk down 4 floors. Smoke for 3mins in the cold. Walk up again 4 floors. Repeat every 15mins. hahahahhaha
We made plans to meet up for dinner with my NIE-mate who was also holidaying with her family. Itaewon is well known to have a lot of halal places to eat. So before dinner, hubb and I decided to double, triple everything … double socks, double leggings etc. 4 or 5 pieces of heatpacks in all available pockets. And braved the vicious cold.
The only mosque in South Korea. 🙂
Our authentic halal food @ Murree, Itaewon with Zaidah and family.
Zaidah had booked a nice traditional Korean house from airbnb. Next time i travel, i will use that. Better than my hotel with no lifts. 😦
The next day is shopping time. After lunch, hubb and I explored places like Ewha Women University and Dongdaemun. We had wanted to go up Namsan Tower but we were too cold. Plus. Meyongdong was haunting. Food and shopping. The cold did not stop us. Saw some of our friends too. Wa,,,, South Korea is really becoming a popular holiday spot!
1 week is too short. Cold frozen fingers means cannot take much pics. hahahha..
We are planning a return to South Korea. We wanna go Jeju Island and Busan. Maybe 10 days? 14days? But when? hehehe…